Hitlerite obsession

Discussion in 'Historiography' started by von Poop, Apr 21, 2006.

  1. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    BBC News - The bizarre Nazi book craze

    The UK's Nazi obsession is viewed with bemusement in some countries

    Books about the Third Reich throng the British bestseller lists, but is it a matter of genuine historical interest or odd fetish, asks Clive Anderson.
    The late Alan Coren famously published a collection of humorous pieces in book form, called Golfing for Cats. And he put a swastika on the front cover. He had noticed the most popular titles in Britain in those days were about cats, golf and Nazis.
    That was in 1975. Thirty-six years on (and now more than 60 years since the end of World War II), Nazi books are going stronger than ever. A staggering 850 books about the Third Reich were published in 2010, up from 350 in the year 2000.
    And they mostly still have a swastika on the front cover.
    The phenomenal and continuing success of books about the Nazis includes fiction, non-fiction and science fiction.
    They include the occult and the Nazis, Nazi magic, Nazi weaponry and Nazi doctors. There's the history of SS uniforms, SS staff cars, SS recruitment and propaganda.
    You can read counter histories imagining Britain if the Nazis had won or post-war histories of the exploitation of Nazi scientific discoveries by America and the other Allied powers.
    There is a first hand account of Himmler's masseur.
    There are serious histories, adventures with the Panzer Division, and secrets of the Gestapo.
    Collectible Spoons of the 3rd Reich by James Yannes is not an invention of Private Eye but a work, I suppose, of genuine scholarship. There's even a book about the Fuhrer's own collection of books - Hitler's Private Library.
    So what is going on here? Are British book-buyers still looking for a warning from history or are some of them attracted by the ghastly glamour of history's most evil baddies?
    Are some readers indulging some form of Nazi fetish? Some enthusiasts track down first editions of Hitler's masterpiece, Mein Kampf.

    Is that necessary to understand the workings of a deranged mind, or something bordering on hero worship?
    Life in Stalin's Russia, Mao's China, and Pol Pot's Cambodia have never generated such popular interest.
    It is not unreasonable that in Britain people tell and re-tell the story of World War II. It is some story.
    As Winston Churchill put it 1940, just before the Battle of Britain: "If the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will say 'this was their finest hour'."
    The empire scarcely lasted another 30 years, but the hour continues to look finer and finer as time go by.
    But does this require people to pore over every last detail of life in Nazi Germany?
    To be fair, the odder looking sub-genres turn out not the works of madmen but works about the madder side of the madmen in charge of the Nazi regime.
    The Nazis, it seems, did experiment with flying saucers, they did consult Tibetan monks, they did devise semi religious ceremonies, they were interested in the lost city of Atlantis, space rockets and time travel.
    So there's plenty of stuff to read, and write books about. But is our obsession with their obsessions altogether healthy?
    The stand-up Henning Wehn, who styles himself Germany's comedy ambassador, recounts the fact that on his first visit to Britain, he turned on the television and it happened to be showing a documentary about the war.
    What were the chances of that? He now knows there are always programmes on about the war. Some channels seem to play nothing else.
    And there are always books about the Nazis in the bookshops.
    Whether it is healthy or not for Britain's national psyche, it is certainly healthy for British publishers. The top 100 books on the Third Reich have generated sales of more than £12 million.
    Times are hard in publishing so they are not going to look the Nazi cash cow in the mouth.

    Popular topics

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  2. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

  3. Jakob Kjaersgaard

    Jakob Kjaersgaard Senior Member

  4. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    Yes, I know this is an old thread but just humour me and go to this BBC animation of the fall of France:
    BBC - History - World Wars: Animated Map: The Fall of France (Dunkirk)

    At the risk of being accused of divisiveness, I earnestly believe that you had to have lived through those times to appreciate how near we came to being just another part of the Third Reich.

    Obsessed by Hitler ?............. with good bloody cause !!!!

  5. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Who would actually want to take a £2,000 Nazi-themed holiday? - Mail Online - TravelMail blog

    Who would actually want to take a £2,000 Nazi-themed holiday?
    Posted by Priscilla Pollara, MailOnline

    As average package holidays go, it is most definitely one of the more unorthodox around.

    In fact, so indelicate is its theme, that it’s hard to imagine any travel agent selling the trip without struggling through their usual steady-gazed, faultless pitch. After all, it would take quite a lot of pluck to be able to promote a sightseeing trip which promises to take in all the former stomping grounds of Adolf Hitler. (Especially when the catch - well apart from the obvious - is that each ticket is marked at an eye-watering £2,000)

    But it’s a waste of time attempting to fathom how a trip of this nature could come together, for when the small selection of travellers set off for the tour, ‘Face of Evil: The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich’, in June, they will undoubtedly be the ones from whom to request a first-hand account of the experience.

    .... continued

    A riposte: Why plenty of people are interested in a holiday to Nazi Germany - Mail Online - TravelMail blog
    A riposte: Why plenty of people are interested in a holiday to Nazi Germany

    Priscilla Pollara asked in her blog piece for MailOnline Travel last week 'Who wants to pay £2,000 to visit Third Reich sites?' Well, the answer is: quite a lot of people, actually.

    As a journalist Priscilla should know that the travel industry has long since moved on from the days when the only alternative to a fortnight soaking up the sun on a Mediterranean beach was a dull but worthy week cruising the Norwegian fjords. These days there are, of course, walking holidays, riding holidays, potholing holidays, rock climbing holidays, writing workshop holidays, holistic healing holidays - and history holidays.

    Ever since Major Tonie and Mrs Valmai Holt founded their pioneering battlefeld tours company back in 1977, a whole new branch of the travel industry has opened up. The Holts and their army of imitators - of which we at Historical Trips Ltd. are merely the latest - latched on to the fact that many millions of people are keen to see for themselves where history, however horrible - and often involving their own ancestors - actually happened.

    ... continued
  6. kiwigeordie

    kiwigeordie Senior Member

    It's strange that one can visit Napoleon's Tomb, Waterloo, The Somme, Gallipoli or Thermopylae without rancour but as soon as a trip is connected with Nazi Germany, one's motives are called into question.
    WW2 affected millions of people and its effects are still being felt today (witness this forum). Leaving aside the battlefield trips by, for example, veterans who are remembering a hugely important event from their youth and one in which they perhaps lost many comrades, I believe many of those who go on such trips to 'Hitler's stomping grounds' are seeking a level of understanding as to how such a repressive regime came to be.
    Why should we not continue to show an interest in locations connected with the birth of Nazism and which led to the deaths of 55 million people?
    Aren't those who forget history condemned to repeat it?
  7. Clint_NZ

    Clint_NZ Member

    Totally agree with you kiwigeordie. After all the whole point of the war was to destroy the Reich and all it stood for, the war wasn't fought for a laugh. The war happened for a reason and that reason was the Nazi Party. In order to understand the the war and the old saying "why we fought" we have to understand the evil that led to it.
  8. James S

    James S Very Senior Member

    I dare say quite a few members here have visited some of the places or other related places as individuals or with a small group of friends, I know I have and so far I have not altered my view on the NSDAP one iota.

    Will tours like this attract the odd person who for some reason admires AH or some of the aspects of his "achievements" perhaps but almost all reasonable people will view him as he was and his "achievements" within the context of what he sought to accomplish within his lifetime.

    Whilst AH was not mad in the accepted sense eg he was not psychotic he certainly was something of a personality disorder who found that his window of opportunity within the instability of post war Germany / Europe allowed him to give free rein to his "talent" to "win friends and influence people" , to fool, most of the people for some of the time by which time they realised the folly of their ways it was too late.

    Does a tour looking at this man and what he brought to be make those who go on it obsessed or a little daft , subjective opinion at best, if I go on a battlefield tour with Paul would that count as the same thing ?

    As far as books about Hitler / WW2 they shift copy but most folks tend to think about what they buy eg "Grey Wolf " and " Hubris / Nemesis" are [poles apart in terms of quality , content and objectivity , and those who buy them will buy them for different reasons.

    Some folks at my place of work do believe that "he (me) is mad about Hitler" what they base this on I don't quite know as I rarely ever mention the man nor do I hold him in any degree of esteem the few would have expressed this view base it on a rather superficial knowledge of myself as an individual and WW2 as an event in the time line of the 20th century.

    Hitler and the Nazis do sell but not in the penny dreadful sense, "Grey Wolf" has been mentioned , (which along with another long running saga on "Sea Lion" ) have been done to death on this and other forum / internet boards - the numbers of copies sold and content won't make them a best seller but they will be remembered not so much for their contribution to history but for their entertainment " what if value".

    Right time for my medications....Nurse Ratchet ( Margaret) is coming and I must try and win back my vast collection of Hitler books at this afternoons pooker school in the tubroom....now having said that she knows a lot about U Boats and knows a lot about Argentina.
  9. peaceful

    peaceful Senior Member

    Yes, I know this is an old thread but just humour me and go to this BBC animation of the fall of France:
    BBC - History - World Wars: Animated Map: The Fall of France (Dunkirk)

    At the risk of being accused of divisiveness, I earnestly believe that you had to have lived through those times to appreciate how near we came to being just another part of the Third Reich.

    Obsessed by Hitler ?............. with good bloody cause !!!!

    I've reread the entire thread and contemplated all the interesting view points and in my case Ron's point was at the forefront of my mind all the way through.

    The bullying by children, calling "Hitler" names is unacceptable and l assume ?? this is dealt with harshly in school and by parents. Not to be disrespectful but an innocent query-why is this name used by British children? I've not known of this and yes Canadian kids call names too. May be a wee bit OT but raised earlier. Thanks
  10. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Without Hitler,there would not be the Second World War,there would not have been almost 50 million citizens of Europe and European Russa lost due to the irrational vision of one man.Hence,the man invites scuntiny of his private and public life by historians,some revisionist themes creep in from the continued assessment of history and one from a point of attempted rehabitation of the man.The quest for the historian is consistent, who was this polician who seduced his adopted nation and led them on the route to destruction?

    He did not leave much behind apart from his rantings in Mein Kampf and his "dinner table talk" which his sycophants gleefully recorded.When life became wearsome for the average German, the cry was "if only the Fuhrer knew".Alas the Fuhrer would never know of the sufferings of his people or his victims.His was a cocooned life, isolated by his close circle from reality and the day to day toll of the victims of war.

    As regards,the wartime attitude towards Hitler and Germans,it was a case of "a good German is a dead German".This hostility towards the Nazi regime,was widespread throughout the British public down to schoolchildren.Have no doubt, the British public were aware, as the war progressed and Hitler's early victories were cheered on by the German population, what would be in store for the British people should the Britsh Isles fall to the Hun.

    Schoolchilden...I remember,one of our masters,a nice man really, was nicknamed "Tojo" after the Japanese war prime minister/dictator.I note, while at public school, one pupil who rose to be a Foreign Secretary was nicknamed "Hitler H " by those junior to him on acount of his attitude to those in the lower school.
  11. PeterG

    PeterG Senior Member

    Google searches:
    Hitler: 37,500,000 results.
    Stalin: 12,800,000.
    Churchill: 1,470,000. (many completely unrelated).
    Roosevelt: 662,000.
    mussolini: 278,000.
    Hirohito: 34,500.

    Unscientific but I'd say we were still somewhat obsessed?
    It all depends on which nationally tailored Google you use. Those results are from the American version, Google.com. Google.co.uk tells a different story:

    Hitler: 28,600,000
    Stalin: 42,700,000
    Churchill: 94,300,000
    Roosevelt: 114,000,000
    Mussolini: 3,770,000
    Hirohito: 2,010,000

    In Germany Google.de gives:

    Hitler: 149,000,000
    Stalin: 42,600,000
    Churchill: 16,300,000
    Roosevelt: 115,000,000
    Mussolini: 4,050,000
    Hirohito: 2,010,000

    In Italy, Google.it shows:

    Hitler: 149,000,000
    Stalin: 149,000,000
    Churchill: 149,000,000
    Roosevelt: 114,000,000
    Mussolini: 149,000,000
    Hirohito: 149,000,000

    Search result capping kicks in at 149 million.
  12. peaceful

    peaceful Senior Member

    Thanks Harry for your insight.
    In regards to the children ---why still today?
  13. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    It all depends on which nationally tailored Google you use. Those results are from the American version, Google.com.
    They're from .co.uk, but c.6 years ago.
    .com currently gives the 149 maximum figure for Adolf.
  14. PeterG

    PeterG Senior Member

    ... Alas the Fuhrer would never know of the sufferings of his people or his victims. His was a cocooned life, isolated by his close circle from reality and the day to day toll of the victims of war.
    In fact he was kept fully informed by Himmler of the number of his victims. The Nazis were meticulous in record keeping.
  15. PeterG

    PeterG Senior Member

    They're from .co.uk, but c.6 years ago.
    .com currently gives the 149 maximum figure for Adolf.
    In that case we have dropped from 37,500,000 to 28,600,000. :)
  16. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    The Germans were renown at keeping local authourity records such as burials and cremations,the latter aspect which was crucial evidence in prosecuting the Gestapo murderers of the Stalag Luft 3 RAF 50.

    The people whose fate is unknown and that includes persistent RAF escapers,SOE operators,resistance operatives. those implicated in the July 1944 plot, et al, simple vanished without trace under the Nacht und Nebel Erlass.The Gestapo and their affiliates ensured this secrecy was achieved and maintained.

    The Final Solution by mass gassing was implemented by Himmler at Auschwitz on the order from Hitler in May 1941.Parallel to this, Goring issued an order to Heydrich for the total solution of the Jews within the area of German influence within Europe.However the coordination and administration was the responsibility of the RHSA headed by Eichmann.

    The fact that the RHSA kept a vast archive of records from the extermination camps has enabled prosecutors and historians to understand the depth of crimes committed.

    However I would doubt if Hitler received reports of these killings on a detailed report basis.
  17. PeterG

    PeterG Senior Member


    Obviously Hitler didn't know the minutiae of these mass European murders but there is ample evidence that he was kept fully informed both by Himmler and Bormann and it simply is unsustainable to say that ... Alas the Fuhrer would never know of the sufferings of his people or his victims. His was a cocooned life, isolated by his close circle from reality and the day to day toll of the victims of war". He was far from being cocooned, indeed there is strong evidence from Himmler's work diary that he did not relish his regular meetings with Hitler who was constantly demanding even more murderous activity.

    To give but one example, following a meeting with Hitler in July 1942A letter [ifZ NO 1611] from Himmler to [SS-Obergruppenführer Gottlob] Berger dated 28 July 1942 provides documentary evidence that this responsibility [i.e., the mass killing of all 'suspect elements' in Russia, and by definition this included the entire Jewish population] was the equivalent of an order from Hitler for the systematic murder of the Soviet population in the occupied Soviet territories: with a hint of self-pity, he declared: "The occupied eastern territories will become free of Jews. The Führer has placed the implementation of this very burdensome order on my shoulders. Nobody can relieve me of this responsibility." page 622, 'Heinrich Himmler' by Peter Longerich.
  18. Wills

    Wills Very Senior Member

    Not made a study of the regime, the political norms would have applied I assume? Where the underlings make sure in trying to impress the man at the top he was made aware of their efforts. Or are some revisionist historians suspending human nature in an attempt to sterilize the great evil. The Bastard knew!
  19. Jon Horley

    Jon Horley Member

    Just a personal view: surely it's natural to be 'obsessed' by a man who truly did orchestrate (and by that, I do mean direct) the world's first genuinely international war? His ambitions touched to a greater or lesser degree countries which at the time had little connection (or no connection at all) to each other: from the African troops from tribally-disparate countries like Nigeria and Kenya, which gallantly formed the most excellent King's African Rifles; to the Pacific Rim, through the frequently-frozen steppes of Eastern Europe, to America and Canada.

    There have been despots before and after whose exploits continue to fascinate and appal us for their lack of humanity towards their own and other countries' people. From the sadistic rule of Caligula, the cruel displays against the Turks of Vlad, to the internal modern horrors of Mao Tze-Tung and Pol Pot, Idi Amin, and on a lesser but still brutal scale, Robert Mugabe - let's not forget his party members' massacre of the Elim Mission in the Vumba Mountains in 1978 - there is no end of megalomaniacs to choose from. But none of them, ancient or modern, brought together the world at large to fight one common foe - or, by the time Japan piggybacked the conflict - two foes. It's the scale of the involvement against the Nazi regime that is so staggering, so no wonder it continues to fascinate us today.

    And, of course, it's impossible to disassociate the Nazis from not just plain fighting and aggressive invasions, but the dreadful extermination of the mentally disabled, homosexuals, Romanies, and millions of Jews from all of the countries they invaded. It isn't just their Panzer divisions and Rommel's cunning plans which people study, but also how on earth someone as perverted as Dr Mengele existed.

    Thus, to my mind, when someone broadly asserts we're 'obsessed with Hitler' what they have to remember is that he does not represent the usual Teutonic ideal of the clean-cut warrior knight, which we might imagine Rommel would've been in another age. He represents an often conflicting catalogue of endeavours, from simple land-grabbing and domination (so far, so like ancient Rome or Hannibal), to hard-fought slogs (aka Napoleon), to unforgivable cruelties (the menu's a bit extensive here).

    Therefore, Hitler isn't just a straightforward tactician, or power junkie, or genocidist, or revolting sadist. He was the leader of a regime which permitted and encouraged all of those activities, on a scale hitherto unmatched in reach and scope.

    Let's hope he was truly a unique case, and that we shall not see his like again.
  20. At Home Dad (Returning)

    At Home Dad (Returning) Well-Known Member


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